11 Ways To Get More Horsepower Out Of Your GMC Sierra

Towing a boat or a work trailer with a GMC Sierra requires immense horsepower and torque. GMC is known for power but you still may ask yourself how can I get more horsepower out of my GMC Sierra? 

Although all the different versions of the GMC Sierra come with an incredible amount of horsepower and towing capacity, as a truck owner, if there are some additional steps you can take to maximize the performance of your vehicle and increase its horsepower, you may want to consider taking them. So, what are some of the best ways to maximize your engine’s performance and increase its horsepower?

Get More Horsepower Out Of Your GMC Sierra 1 11 Ways To Get More Horsepower Out Of Your GMC Sierra

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How Can I Get More Horsepower Out Of My GMC Sierra?

If you want more horsepower out of your GMC Sierra, there are several things you can do. You can install a high-flow air intake system, put in a throttle body spacer, install a cat-back exhaust system, use an aftermarket tuner, upgrade the gas headers, or install a supercharger or upgraded turbo.

The above-mentioned upgrades and installations that you can make to increase the horsepower of your GMC Sierra are just a few examples of the many options that you have. Increased horsepower is something that many truck owners desire, however, what are the advantages and disadvantages of increasing the horsepower of your GMC Sierra? For example, are there any downsides to installing a supercharger or upgraded turbo that may make you think twice before having it installed? 

Let us have a realistic discussion about all the different options you have and the benefits of increasing the horsepower of your GMC Sierra, while at the same time being completely clear about what types of negative consequences may potentially occur.

To gather information about all the different options a vehicle has to increase the performance of its vehicle’s engine and add to its overall horsepower, we have consulted with engine experts and after-market product technicians who specialize in increasing engine performance. 

To gather information about all the different advantages and disadvantages of having some or all of these products installed and upgrades performed, we reviewed testimonials from real GMC Sierra owners who have experienced both the benefits and unintended consequences of altering their vehicle in an attempt to increase its overall performance and horsepower.

Increasing GMC Sierra Horsepower

Get More Horsepower Out Of Your GMC Sierra 1 1 11 Ways To Get More Horsepower Out Of Your GMC Sierra

People who are shopping for a truck may realize that GMC Sierras tend to be a little more expensive than other trucks in the same class. 

The main reasons for this higher price point have to do with the fact that GMC is the highest-rated premium brand according to the JD Power Satisfaction Index and that GMC mainly targets customers who are looking for luxury vehicles and who appreciate the exclusivity of the GMC brand. 

The average GMC truck costs around $50,000, and for that price point, GMC customers expect a certain level of luxury, but at the same time, they want a truck that can work hard and be pushed to the limit. This is why GMC offers a wide range of engine options that cater to every type of truck owner, from the weekend warrior towing 

When it comes to the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Limited, you have four different engine options that have different horsepower and torque ratings. There is the 2.7-liter turbo, 5.3-liter ECOTec3 V8, 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8, and the Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8.

Let’s take a look at the horsepower and torque ratings for each of the four different engine options available. 

  • 2.7-liter turbo: The 2.7-liter turbo comes with 310 horsepower and 348 lbs per foot of torque. 
  • 5.3-liter V8: The 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 comes with355 horsepower and 383 lbs per foot of torque. 
  • 6.2-liter V8: The 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 comes with 420 horsepower and 460 lbs per foot of torque.
  • Duramax 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V8: The Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 comes with 277 horsepower and 460 lbs per foot of torque.

Depending on the engine you choose there are several aftermarket upgrades and installations you could consider if you are looking to maximize your engine’s performance and increase its overall horsepower. We will get into the pros and cons of having these kinds of upgrades and installations completed to your GMC Sierra, however, the main thing to be aware of is that you will want to make sure that alterations you make to your truck do not void your vehicle’s warranty.  

Here are some of the best ways that GMC Sierra owners have increased the horsepower of their vehicles. 

1. High-flow air intake system

Increasing the amount of air that reaches your engine is a great way to increase horsepower and torque. Installing a high-flow intake system can get that clean, power-enhancing air outside of your vehicle and into your engine.

Not only does the increased airflow increase horsepower and torque, but it can also increase throttle response as well as improve fuel efficiency. Most high-flow air systems come with cotton filters that can be washed and reused over and over again without the need to buy replacement filters. 

Some popular airflow products currently available for purchase in the United States are the K&N 77 Series Metal Intake Kit and the aFe Magnum Force Cold Air Intake

2. Cat-Back exhaust system

A Cat-Back exhaust system is typically constructed from aluminum or stainless steel and you can choose from a single, dual, rear, or side exit configuration, whichever style you prefer. 

A Cat-Back exhaust system can enhance your GMC Sierra’s horsepower and torque while creating that signature exhaust sound that other trucks can be jealous of. Each Cat-Back exhaust kit should come with all the tubes, tips, mufflers, and hardware needed to complete the installation.

Some popular Cat-Back exhaust systems that GMC Sierra owners prefer are the Borla Exhaust System and the Flowmaster Exhaust System

3. After-market electronic tuner

An after-market electronic tuner plugs directly into the computer of the GMC Sierra to adjust the speed limiter, tire size, and rev limit. The tuner is a great way to improve your horsepower and torque by simply pushing a few buttons and making a few adjustments to the vehicle’s internal computer system. An electronic tuner kit should come with a connector, USB cables, and a software installation disc. When it is time to update the tuner with new features and software, simply plug the tuner into your PC and download the updates directly from the website. 

If you are looking for an after-market electronic tuner, two companies to look at are Hypertech and DiabloSport. Both companies have several different tuners for sale depending on what your needs are. 

The Hypertech Max Energy 2.0 Programmer and the DiabloSport Trinity T-1000 Programmer are two of the most popular models on the market. 

4. Throttle body spacer

A throttle body spacer works to channel a potent air/fuel mixture into the combustion chamber of your engine to increase horsepower and torque while helping achieve better fuel efficiency. 

Throttle body spacers are typically constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum or glass-filled nylon composite to last a long-time even under the harshest and most intense conditions. Another benefit of installing a throttle body spacer is that it can help dampen engine noise and any unpleasant whistling your vehicle may make when in motion. 

Two of the most highly recommended throttle body spacers are the Taylor Cable Helix Power Tower Throttle Body Spacer and the Spectre Throttle Body Spacer.

5. Upgrade the intercooler (Diesel only)

If you are driving a GMC Sierra with the Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 engine, you can upgrade the intercooler to increase your horsepower and torque by double digits. The upgraded intercooler comes fully equipped with hoses, boots, pipes, T-bolt clamps, and hardware.

The upgraded intercooler is much large than the stock intercooler for better cooling. 

If you are looking to upgrade the intercooler on your Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 engine, then you may want to look into the intercooler manufacturer Mishimoto which makes numerous different intercooler systems. Also, take a look at the Banks Techni-Cooler System

6. Upgraded headers (Gas only)

The main idea of an exhaust header is to eliminate the back pressure that is created by an exhaust manifold. A header routes exhaust from the engine to the exhaust system with less pressure allowing the engine to emit exhaust more easily and without restriction. 

When there is little to no backpressure created and the exhaust can freely flow, horsepower and acceleration can increase. Additionally, the sound of the exhaust will be much more prominent. 

Two of the best exhaust headers that you may want to consider installing on your GMC Sierra include the BBK Performance Exhaust Headers and the Banks TorqueTube Exhaust Headers

7. High-flow downpipe (Diesel only)

A high-flow downpipe installed on the Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 GMC Sierra allows spent exhaust to leave the engine by connecting a tube from the turbocharger to the exhaust system. 

High-flow downpipes typically contain a catalytic converter that can help reduce the emission of harmful exhaust fumes while the truck is being driven. 

If you are looking for a high-flow downpipe for your Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 GMC Sierra, you may want to check out some of the offerings of Flowmaster and MBRP

8. Larger throttle body

Previously we discussed the benefits of adding a throttle body spacer, but what about just installing an all-new and larger throttle body? A larger throttle body can improve air velocity and deliver the most perfect and powerful doses of air and fuel to increase your horsepower, improve your torque, and make your accelerator incredibly responsive. 

Upgraded throttle bodies typically are larger, create more engine power, and are constructed from CNC-machined aluminum to be long-last and extremely durable. 

The Jet Performance Power-Flo Throttle Body is widely used by many GMC Sierra owners who are looking to deliver more air and fuel to their engines while increasing their horsepower and torque. 

9. Install a supercharger (Gas only)

If you are driving a GMC Sierra with a non-diesel engine and you are looking to maximize your engine performance and add some incredible raw power and torque, then you may want to consider having a supercharger installed. A supercharger is essentially an air compressor that increases air pressure as air flows into the internal combustion engine. 

The supercharger allows for the engine to increase its output by increasing the amount of oxygen the engine receives ad by allowing the engine to burn more fuel. 

Edelbrock is a trusted and well-respected brand that manufactures the Edelbrock E-Force Supercharger Kit

10. Install an upgraded turbocharger (Diesel only)

If you are looking for more horsepower and torque than what the Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 GMC Sierra can provide, then you may want to consider upgrading your turbocharger. A turbocharger is responsible for blowing additional air into the combustion chamber of a diesel engine. The increase in air mass allows for more injected fuel to be burned. 

Not only can a turbo increase horsepower and torque for a diesel engine GMC Sierra Nevada, but it can also increase its efficiency as well. 

For a bolt-on replacement for a factory turbocharger, the aFe BladeRunner Turbocharger is a top pick for many owners of the GMC Sierra with the Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 engine. 

11. Meth injection (Diesel only)

Owners of the Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 GMC Sierra who are looking to increase their horsepower and torque may want to consider installing a cool water/methanol injection kit. 

A meth injection kit can allow you to run your truck harder and for longer by keeping temperatures low and catalyzing combustion. Also, the performance meth kit increases air charge densities by 5 psi. 

If you are interested in a performance meth injection kit for your Duramax 3.0-liter Turbo-Diesel V8 GMC Sierra, you may want to check out the Snow Performance Water/Methonal Injection Boost Cooler Kit

What are the pros and cons of adding horsepower to your truck?

Adding horsepower and torque to your truck seems like a no-brainer, but there can be some downsides as well that could cause issues with your GMC Sierra

Let us take a closer look at the pros and cons of adding extra horsepower and more torque to your GMC Sierra. 

Pros

  • Increased Horsepower: Horsepower is another way of saying speed. The more horsepower your engine has, the faster it can travel and the quicker it can get up to speed. 
  • Increased torque: Torque represents the amount of strength a vehicle has. Higher torque can increase acceleration as well as power trucks to haul heavier loads like boats, campers, and trailers. 
  • Better fuel efficiency: Many of the auto parts used to increase horsepower and improve torque also improve fuel efficiency at the same time. For example, a larger throttle body or the installation of a throttle body station can help to create the optimal mix of fuel and air to increase horsepower, but at the same time, help the vehicle burn fuel more efficiently. 

Cons

  • Potential decreased control: When you make alterations to your vehicles like putting in a supercharger or turbo, you are also altering the way a vehicle handles, especially at higher speeds. As a driver, you will need to be able to adapt and adjust to changes in how the vehicle handles and its steering system.
  • Delayed horsepower: If you have a supercharger or turbo installed on your GMC Sierra, you may be surprised to find out that the increase in engine power is not instantaneous. You cannot just slam the accelerator to the floor and expect magic. A supercharger and a turbocharger take a few seconds to kick in and most often the biggest effects are felt when the vehicle is already in gear and in motion, not from a dead-stop. 
  • Warranty problems: If your GMC Sierra is still under warranty, making drastic alterations to your vehicle may void the warranty. If you really want to install a turbocharger, supercharger, or an all-new exhaust system, or make any alterations whatsoever, you may want to consult the dealer to find out which, if any, of your planned alterations will void the warranty. If so, you may want to hold off a couple of years until the warranty expires or simply be prepared to accept the fact that your vehicle is no longer covered under warranty. 

What gives a truck more horsepower?

One of the best ways to give a truck more horsepower is to install a supercharger on a gas-powered truck. If you drive a diesel, then you can install a turbocharger, or if you already have one, purchase and install an upgraded turbo that is more powerful and better quality than the stock turbo. 

How can I make my 2017 GMC Sierra faster?

As discussed previously, there are multiple ways that you could increase the horsepower and torque of your GMC Sierra. Everything from installing newer and larger throttle bodies or installing throttle body spacers to installing a supercharger or putting in upgraded exhaust headers rather than using the stock exhaust manifold. 

However, if you are looking for the most noticeable results as quickly as possible, then you may want to do the following alterations.

Let’s say you are driving a 2017 GMC Sierra 5.3-liter V8 and you would like to give it some more get up and go. The best things you can do right away are to install a high-flow cold air intake system, put in an all-new high-performance exhaust system, and purchase an after-market electronic tuner.

How much horsepower does a GMC pickup have?

Previously we discussed how much horsepower and torque was created by the four different engine types available for the 2022 GMC Sierra 1500, but what about earlier models? What if you are looking to purchase a used GMC Sierra 1500.

Let us take a look back at the horsepower and torque for the various engines offered in the 2021GMC Sierras. 

2021

  • 4.3-liter V6 VVT DI: The 4.3-liter V6 VVT DI comes with 285 horsepower and 305 lbs per foot of torque. 
  • 5.3-liter V8 VVT DI: The 5.3-liter V8 VVT DI comes with 355 horsepower and 383 lbs per foot of torque.
  • 2.7-liter Turbo DOHC VVT DI: The 2.7-liter Turbo DOHC VVT DI comes with 310 horsepower and 348 lbs per foot of torque.
  • 6.2-liter  V8 VVT DI: The 6.2-liter  V8 VVT DI comes with 420 horsepower and 460 lbs per foot of torque.
  • 3.0-liter DOHC I6 Turbo-Diesel: The 3.0-liter DOHC I6 Turbo-Diesel comes with 277 horsepower and 460 lbs per foot of torque. 

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